Matthew 16:5
And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
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(5) They had forgotten.—Better, they forgot. St. Mark, with his usual precision in detail, states that they had but “one loaf” with them. Either the suddenness of their Lord’s departure had deprived them of their customary forethought, or, it may be, they were beginning to depend wrongly on the wonder-working power, as though it would be used, not as before, to supply the wants of the famished multitude, but as rendering that forethought needless for themselves.

Matthew 16:5-12. When his disciples were come to the other side — Namely, of the sea of Tiberias, see Mark 8:13; they had forgotten to take bread — They had tarried so long in Dalmanutha, or Magdala, that they had consumed the seven baskets of fragments which they had taken up at the late miracle, recorded Matthew 15:32-39, and had no more than one loaf with them in the ship, Mark 8:14. Then Jesus said, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees — That is, of their false doctrine; elegantly called leaven, for it spreads in the soul, or the church, as leaven does in meal. And they reasoned among themselves — What must we do then for bread, since we have taken no bread with us? Thus the slowness of their understanding showed itself on this occasion, as it had done on many others. “As they had forgotten to take bread, and had often heard the doctors prohibit the use of the leaven of heathen and Samaritans, they thought he forbade them to buy bread from bakers of either sect, lest it might be made with impure leaven, and so they looked on the advice as an indirect reproof of their carelessness.” Which when Jesus perceived — As he knew all the secret workings of their minds; he said, O ye of little faith, why reason ye? — Why are ye troubled about this? Why should your neglecting to bring bread with you make you put such an interpretation upon my words? Am I not able, if need so require, to supply you by a word? Observe, reader, to distrust Christ, and disquiet our own minds, when we are in straits and difficulties, is an evidence of the weakness of our faith, which, if it were in exercise as it should be would deliver us from the burden of care, by enabling us to cast it on the Lord, who careth for us. Do ye not understand — After having been so long with me, are ye still ignorant of my power and goodness? neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets, &c. — Certainly you are very stupid, if you have forgotten how that with five loaves I fed five thousand men, who, after being fully satisfied, left a great deal more than the quantity that was at first set before me to divide among them. Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand — An instance of a merciful and miraculous supply which happened so lately. How is it that ye do not understand? — How came ye not to know that he, who on those different occasions fed such multitudes with such a little quantity of food, can never be at a loss to provide a meal for twelve? The experience which they had so lately had of the power and goodness of Christ in providing for them, was a great aggravation of their distrust. Though they had no bread with them, they had Him with them who could provide bread for them. God’s people may well be ashamed of the slowness and dulness of their apprehensions in divine things; especially when they have long enjoyed the means of grace. As Christ’s disciples well deserved the sharp rebuke which their Master gave them on this occasion, so it had the designed effect; for it brought the disciples to understand that he designed to caution them against the corrupt doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees; the pernicious nature and tendency of which may be learned from many instances taken notice of and condemned by Jesus himself, in the course of his ministry.

16:5-12 Christ speaks of spiritual things under a similitude, and the disciples misunderstand him of carnal things. He took it ill that they should think him as thoughtful about bread as they were; that they should be so little acquainted with his way of preaching. Then understood they what he meant. Christ teaches by the Spirit of wisdom in the heart, opening the understanding to the Spirit of revelation in the word.The account in these verses is also recorded in Mark 8:13-21.

Matthew 16:5

And when his disciples were come to the other side - That is, to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

Mark says that he entered into a ship again, and departed to the other side. The conversation with the Pharisees and Sadducees had been on the western side of the Sea of Galilee. See the notes at Matthew 15:39. They crossed from that side again to the east.

Had forgotten to take bread - That is, had forgotten to lay in a sufficient supply. They had, it seems, not more than one loaf, Mark 8:14.


Mt 16:1-12. A Sign from Heaven Sought and Refused—Caution against the Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

For the exposition, see on [1315]Mr 8:11-21.

See Poole on "Matthew 16:7".

When his disciples were come to the other side,.... Of the sea, as Munster's Hebrew Gospel adds, to Bethsaida, Mark 8:22 as they were either in the ship, or going from the shore to the said place, they recollected themselves,

that they had forgotten to take bread: having but one loaf, as Mark says, in the ship; the seven baskets of fragments being either expended, or given away to the poor, of their own accord, or by Christ's orders. It seems, it was usual with the disciples to buy food at places most proper, and carry with them; since Christ often went into deserts and mountainous places, where provisions could not be had. This their forgetfulness to act according to their wonted method, might arise either from their being intent upon Christ's conversation with the Pharisees, and Sadducees, or from the suddenness of Christ's departure.

{2} And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

(2) False teachers must be taken warning of.

Matthew 16:5. This, according to Fritzsche, is the voyage mentioned in Matthew 15:39, so that the disciples are supposed to have come shortly after “in eum ipsum locum, quem Jesus cum Pharisaeis disputans tenebat.” Unjustifiable deviation from the very definite account in Mark 8:13. After disposing of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus crossed over again to the east side of the lake along with His disciples; but Matthew mentions only οἱ μαθηταί, because they alone happen to form the subject of ἐπελάθοντο, though Matthew 16:6 shows, beyond all doubt, that Jesus crossed along with them.

ἐπελάθοντο] is neither to be taken (Erasmus, Calvin, Paulus, Hilgenfeld) as a pluperfect (see, on the other hand, note on John 18:24), nor as equivalent to “viderunt se oblitos esse” (Beza, Kuinoel, Fritzsche), but thus: after the disciples had reached the east side, they forgot to provide themselves with bread (to serve them for a longer journey). After coming on shore they should have obtained a supply of provisions in view of having a further journey before them, but this they forgot. According to Mark 8:14 ff., which in this instance also is the more authentic version, the following conversation is not to be understood as having taken place in the boat (Keim, Weiss), but in the course of the further journey after going on shore.

Matthew 16:5-12. The one important thing in this section is the reflection of Jesus on what had just taken place. The historical setting is not clear. Jesus left the sign seekers after giving them their answer. The disciples cross the lake; in which direction? With or without their Master? They forget to take bread. When? On setting out or after arrival at the other side? ἐλθόντες εἰς τ. π., Matthew 16:5, naturally suggests the latter, but, as Grotius remarks, the verb ἔρχεσθαι in the Gospels sometimes means ire not venire (vide, e.g., Luke 15:20). Suffice it to say that either in the boat or after arrival at the opposite side Jesus uttered a memorable word.

5–12. The Leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees

Mark 8:14-21, where the rebuke of Christ is given more at length in stirring language; and Luke 12:1, where the context is different.

Verses 5-12. - Warning against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Mark 8:14-21.) Verse 5. - They had forgotten (ἐπελάθοντο, not pluperfect); came to the other side, and forgot; obliti sunt (Vulgate); i.e. they perceived that they had forgotten to take sufficient bread for the journey before them. The district which they were about to traverse was but sparsely inhabited, and offered no hope of supplying this want. It is doubted whether the ensuing conversation took place during the voyage or after they had landed. The language of St. Mark inclines one to believe that the deficiency was discovered during the transit, and the remarks now narrated were made then. As it would take some hours to cross, there was ample time to feel and expatiate upon the need; and if Christ had told them of his future movements, they would naturally feel regret for their carelessness and want of forethought. Or it might be that Christ's observation concerning the leaven was made in the beat, and his reproof of their thoughts was given on landing. Matthew 16:5
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